Post First World War: 1919 The Addison Act
The end of the First World War in 1918 created a huge demand for working class housing in towns throughout Britain. In 1919, Parliament passed the
ambitious Housing Act which promised government subsidies to help finance the construction of 500,000 houses within three years. The Addison Act, as it was known, was named after its author. Minister of Health Dr Christopher Addison. This Act made housing a national responsibility. Local Authorities were given the task of building new homes and rental accommodation for working people.
As the economy rapidly weakened in the early 1920s, funding had to be cut, and only 213,000 homes were completed under the Act’s provisions. Further Acts of this period extended the duty of Local Authorities to make housing available as a social service.
The Housing Act of 1924 gave substantial grants to local authorities in
response to the acute housing shortages of these years.
A fresh Housing Act of 1930 obliged local councils to clear all remaining
slum housing, and provided further subsidies to re-house inhabitants. This
single Act led to the clearance of more slums than at any time previously,
and the building of 700,000 new homes.
Under the provisions of the inter-war Housing Acts local councils built a
total of 1.1 million homes.